The Fox at Dawn

8.24.19 A Visitor
August 24, 2019, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Saturday morning, blessedly cooler, the humidity gone. The insects sang with the birds and I sat outside with my coffee watching the cats’ lively play, invigorated by the reprieve from summer’s hammer. They charged up into the Golden Rain Tree and swiped at each other from their perches. I grabbed my phone to take their portrait. Down the hill on the lane that runs in front of my house, a man walked by. He talked softly to himself, looked up and saw me there looking down to him. I waved, as I do. He waved, stopped walking and started talking to me as he turned to climb up through the old lily beds and ornamental grasses of my yard. I couldn’t follow what he was saying, something about trying to get up this way every year to do a bit of work, something about picking broccoli spears in Shelby County. He was a white man with long graying hair and a beard, both of which were red once. Perhaps he was in his sixties, perhaps older. He wore loose jeans and a zipped up jacket the color of earth and moss, both of which looked to be worn a long time though not dirty. It was startling how he climbed right up into my yard, ignoring boundaries most folks wouldn’t consider crossing. The dogs rushed down to him, giving him a friendly welcome, and he greeted them with pats. Still he continued his climb toward me, his hands restlessly picking and pulling leaves and branches as he passed. Some were weeds, some were plants dying off at the end of summer, but some were not. He snapped off a branch of the Golden Rain Tree and the head of a sedum that was fixing to flower. His hands had their own will, a need to be picking and snapping as he worked through the farm rows of his mind. Soon he was upon me, right up on the patio bricks by the little fish pond. I was more puzzled than alarmed.

“How about I walk you this way down the path” I said, hoping to lead him back toward the road.

“A path is alway good” he said. He followed me but looked over his shoulder toward my house and its door open wide to the living room inside. “You have a nice house. I bet you have a bedroom.”

There was nothing sinister in his voice, just a simple kind of wistfulness.

“Yes” I said. “Here, this path leads back down to the lane.”

“A path is always good” he said again. But instead of following it, he kept walking into my neighbor’s yard, turning to continue his ascent up the hill.

“It’s good that there are still Indians in this place” was the last thing I heard him say as he made his way, pulling and snapping plants along his way up to the little bit of wood we have behind our houses. I watched him until he was gone.

Was there something I ought to have done for him? He asked for nothing. He seemed to be simply passing through, a visitor from another world following a path I could not see, and as I write this, I am suddenly doubting that it really happened at all.

1 Comment so far
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Yes, an unearthly visitor! Maybe reminding that everyone has their own path.

Comment by Dory Hudspeth

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